It feels like the start of 2016 has been a mad rush of post-holiday preparations, with people jumping on resolutions and starting projects they should’ve begun before the festivities. With all of our new winter shows finally out, below are the ones that I’ve decided to stick with for now–as you know, the list is subject to changes. I’m always more than happy to try out something new recommended by a reader. This season is one heck of an addition to my plate since there are so many more pleasurable surprises than originally expected from glancing at the line-up. This just validates me giving at least every one of the new releases a try, no matter how much I think I’ll hate it.
Earlier last year, the second-to-best announcement I could have hoped for was made: an OVA for my favorite anime series of all time would be produced. Then came even better news! We would receive three OVAs in the Avvenire story line. The only way they could have improved my already sunny mood would be to announce a full season.
But then, I forgot all about it. My excitement lasted all of a month, then vanished in the face of an already full plate. I was reminded once again of Avvenire with the release of the first OVA, “For You, Whom I Longed to Meet.”
Happy 2016, Year of the Monkey! The 2015 anime season ended on an exhaustively long, yet exhilarating run, launching us into a new year full of hopeful anticipation. I completed 14 shows this fall, and retained 6 ongoing series. It was a whirlwind, so hop on and let me know what you thought of both this past season and the year as a whole. Cheers!
Gakusen Toshi Asterisk
Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry
One Punch Man
Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider
Owari no Seraph: Nagoya Kessen-hen
Working!!! Lord of the Takanashi
Onsen Yousei Hakone-chan
Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru
Superheroes have been a hot topic for several years now, from the U.S.’s several comics turned films, to the various superhero anime series in recent seasons. For the most part, they’ve all been predictable in format and body, and based off of One Punch Man’s promotional artwork, I assumed it, too, would follow suit. The first episode very quickly proved the OPM would be a conversation starter for weeks to come.
My last of the three Secret Santa recommendations, Omoide no Marnie (or, When Marnie Was There) is a Studio Ghibli film detailing the story of a young girl who leaves the city for the country and stumbles across a very special mansion. Directed by Yonebayashi Hiromasa, who also directed the lovely Karigurashi no Arietti, Marnie has a distinctly melancholic air. The protagonist’s ever expressionless face and the still waters that surround the Marsh House smother the viewer. When it seems like the somber atmosphere might spread, we are instead refreshed by the brightness of the Oiwa family and magical encounters with Marnie. Like Anna, we are tossed back and forth between reality and the inexplicable, with each trade resulting in livelier and more colorful reactions.
“The present will always be different from the past. That’s what makes life good and at the same time sad. That sadness in turn gives our everyday life some flavor. Just like coffee.” -Yaobi Kunio
“How bitter! Milk, please!” -Kitashirakawa Tamako
As much as I adored the television series, Tamako Market, I could not deny the many flaws the show maintained to the end: Dera and the royals, the stagnant relationship between Tamako and Mochizou, and the death of Tamako’s mother. The main attraction of the show was the daily life of Tamako and her friends in and around her neighborhood market, yet the other three factors kept popping up fighting for attention. The most out of place of them all was Dera, the single supernatural addition to TM. Tamako Love Story removes the magic and focuses in on the two aspects I care most about–the love, and the future.
The audition: terrifying, exhilarating, and honest. You face the judges, but most of all, you face yourself–your progress and shortcomings. Most musicians undergo countless number of auditions. I auditioned in high school, several times in college, and in competition. In Hibike! Euphonium, Reina and Kaori must audition for the solo part for their band’s competition performance. The first trial is closed, with student and instructor alone behind the door. With the rumors that crop up after Reina’s win, a second trial is then held on stage before the entire group.
For the first year, Anime B&B is participating in Reverse Thieves’ Anime Secret Santa project. Traditionally, each participant receives another member’s name, Twitter/blog link, and full anime list, and must recommend three different single-cours shows, specials, or movies to be watched and reviewed by Christmas Eve. Once you receive your own Secret Santa picks, you must watch at least one of them—you need not apply yourself to all three. Then when Christmas Day rolls around, you find out the name of your Santa.
My gifts this year were all wonderful choices, and particularly well thought out due to my already heavy schedule. The only series was a short twelve episodes, while the other two were movies. All were works I had already had my eyes on, but for some reason or another had not yet begun. Given my attraction to all three and the ease of adding them into my line-up, I’ll be reviewing each of them in separate posts.
If you’re any sort of regular reader of a variety of anime blogs, you’ll have no doubt seen Shirobako, specifically this scene, on other 12 Days lists. Miyamori Aoi’s front row seat to the advancing seiyuu career of her close friend, Sakaki Shizuka, had both her and I in joyful tears.
Only the second of Matsumoto Rie’s head director series, Kekkai Sensen (or Blood Blockade Battlefront) danced onto the stage with flair. The setting, style, script, and music all contributed to an alluring world between life and hell. Of the many episodic stories told in this too-short series, the one featuring the unexpected friendship between Leo and Nej over a mutual love for Jack & Rocket’s hamburger stayed with me the most.